MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An ex-cop out of North Miami found out that he will not be going to jail despite a conviction in connection to a shooting.
In July 2016, Jonathan Aledda responded to a call of a possible suicidal man. When he arrived two men were in the middle of the street.
One was an autistic man named Arnaldo Rios Soto. The other man was his caretaker, Charles Kinsey.
Aledda said he believed Soto was threatening Kinsey with a gun.
Aledda fired his weapon, hitting Kinsey in the leg but missing the autistic man. The gun turned out to be a toy truck.
During his second trial, the first ending in a hung jury, Aledda testified that he could hear what Kinsey was screaming at him but couldn’t understand what he was saying.
“It appeared he was screaming for mercy or for help or something. In my mind, the white male had a gun,” he said.
A jury found Aledda guilty of misdemeanor culpable negligence but not on felony charges of attempted manslaughter.
At his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, the judge said that Aledda will not have to serve any time in jail for his conviction. Aledda faced up to a year in prison.
Before the ruling, prosecutor Don Horn had asked the judge to sentence Aledda to at least 30 days in jail, saying he was reckless.
“Basically he shot Charles Kinsey who was an unarmed man with his hands in the air,” he said. “As a result of Mr. Kinsey being shot, it was a miracle he was not killed.”
Last month Kinsey, who has filed a federal lawsuit in the case, described what his life has been like since the shooting.
“I can’t sleep at night. I have nightmares. It is unbearable.” I believe he shouldn’t be an officer, nowhere,” he said.
On Wednesday the judge ruled that adjudication would be withheld. Aledda will be on administrative probation for one year and will have to perform 100 hours of community service. He will also have to write an essay on the importance of proper communication at a police scene.
The ruling followed some emotional testimony and an apology from Aledda in court.
“Mr. Kinsey for the good in my heart that I believe that what I was doing I believe I was doing my job,” he said. “As a result sir I am asking for your understanding. I’m not asking for pity. I’m not asking for pity I am asking for understanding.”
Aledda’s father also testified.
“He acted in good faith with no attempt of malice,” said Mark Aledda.
Aledda left the courthouse without commenting, but his lawyer was happy with the outcome.
“We are overjoyed with the Judge’s ruling but feel the charge was a charade,” said Daniel Hartman. “I am very happy with the sentence but unhappy he was convicted.”
“I think the judge saw through both trials and saw that there was a little bit of overzealousness on the State Attorney’s office to charge. It would have had a very chilling effect had they convicted him,” said Steadman Stahl, President of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a statement which read in part, “Policing can be a very dangerous job. However, this case indicates our community’s belief that, on a daily basis, thought and attention should be a part of every action undertaken.”
Aledda is the first police officer since 1989 to be prosecuted in Miami-Dade for an on-duty shooting.
North Miami police have started the termination proceedings.